3 Women's Self Defense Myths
By Brandi Armstrong


As a woman it can sometimes be hard to get quality information, and training, when it comes to self defense. There is a lot of bad information out there and sorting through it all can be time consuming and confusing. It’s hard to know who to listen to, what is good advice and what is just plain nonsense. Some women may also be a little afraid of asking because of what people might think of them. Given that self defense is usually taught by men, it can sometimes be a little intimidating to seek out training and information. So today I am going to lay out 3 myths about women’s self defense to help start setting the record straight.

Women’s Self Defense Myth #1: I’ll Just Kick ‘Em In The Groin!

Wrong! First of all, do you really think it is going to be that easy? Since that man’s testicles dropped, he has learned to care for and protect them as if his life depended on it. The first time he was ever struck, hit, kicked or even accidentally flicked in the groin he vowed to never let that happen again. By instinct, it is the most protected part of his body. Secondly, you better have good aim. Although most men would argue with me, it’s not that big of a target. In the heat of the moment, with adrenaline pumping, you are not going to have much time or the wherewithal to make sure you get your kick between the uprights and score the extra point, so to speak. And a kick to the thigh is not much of a deterrent to someone who is intent on doing you harm.

Now am I saying the groin isn’t a great target in women’s self defense? Nope. It’s a vital target. But given the facts above you are more likely to deliver a disabling strike to the groin if your attacker is thinking about other pain you have inflicted on him such as a strike to the throat, nose and/or eyes.

Women’s Self Defense Myth #2: My Pocket Mace Is All I Need

Sorry, wrong again. The problem with this myth is that most women will buy mace, throw it in their purse and think they are safe. They couldn’t be farther from the truth. While mace can be a good women’s self defense tool it does have its drawbacks. One, if you have never used it before, you are just as likely to mace yourself as you are your attacker. Two, it can only be used at distance. Once they have a hold of you, it’s too late. Three, if there is wind or even a breeze, you again could end up taking yourself out instead of your attacker or risk the mace never even reaching them.

If you are going to carry mace, as with any self defense tool, you must practice with it first. Make sure you know how far it is going to shoot, how it will react to wind and rain, and make sure it is not your only self defense tool.

Women’s Self Defense Myth #3: Self Defense Is Purely Physical

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your first line of defense, and your most powerful women’s self defense tools, are something you already have – your intelligence and your instincts. As women, we have to stop second guessing ourselves and we definitely have to stop being “nice” when we are uncomfortable for fear of being called a “bi***”. If a man steps too close to you, you have every right to create space – or better yet not allow him to get within your space at all. When the little hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you are walking to your car, pay attention to them. If you get a feeling in your gut that something just isn’t right, it’s okay to turn around and go back the way you came.

And for goodness sakes, get your heads out of your phones! This is where your intelligence comes in. You are smart enough to know that you have no idea what is going on around you when you are catching up on Facebook, carrying on 3 text conversations at once while walking through the parking lot adding some last minute items in your grocery list app. As women, mothers, businesswomen, wives, friends, sisters and superheroes, we are the queens of multitasking. But there are certain times when things need our undivided attention: when someone we love needs us and when it comes to our safety and well-being. Learn and practice situational awareness everywhere you go. Attackers look for distracted victims that will be easy to overpower. They are less likely to attack someone that has her head held high, is aware of her environment and is making eye contact with people that pass by. Your women’s intuition, coupled with a trained and practiced situational awareness, can help to keep you from ever needing to physically defend yourself.

Sensei Brandi is the owner of United Studios of Self Defense in Yorba Linda, CA and has been practicing the martial arts for over 20 years. Her martial arts school in North Orange County specializes in Women's Self Defense as well as teaching martial arts as a practical self defense tool for men, women and children of all ages. For more information on USSD Yorba Linda and their Women's Self Defense Program you can visit their website at